Complete disclosure. I had no idea when I started this journey that I would be visiting South Dakota and Wyoming. I therefore had no intention of visiting Mt Rushmore and Keystone. I stayed South because of weather to the North. What I discovered was that the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming are stunning. Reminded me of the Smoky Mountains but with pine trees. This makes even more sense when I realized that Sturgis is part of this enclave. For those who don’t know, Sturgis hosts an annual motorcycle rally that tops over 500,000 bikers during a week in August.
|Mt Rushmore in the Black Hills, SD|
I got out early and headed up into the hills. Beautiful new tarmac and long sweeping turns. It was a great change from the long and straight that have been the last couple days. Good climbs and descents with a lot of passing lanes. Visited the Mount Rushmore Memorial Monument before the crowds arrived. It was still busy at 7:45 am but it was only going to get worse apparently.
Followed US 16 West out of South Dakota and into Wyoming. Beautiful turns through Hells Canyon and into the oil country of East Wyoming. Then began some high plains drifter riding. Felt very cowboy as I rode through tumble weed and ranch land spotted with oil derricks.
As I descended out of the high plains the Grand Tetons came into view. Stunning. I have not seen snow capped mountains since I left British Columbia three years ago. I have flown back to visit but it is not the same as riding along a desolate highway and seeing this view. I was very grateful for the complete randomness and perfect moments that are placed in my path….
|Yellowstone Park Grand Tetons|